Increased sales occurs either through expanding your customer base or getting more business from your existing customers. Customer growth is a huge undertaking and is invariably expensive. Therefore it is imperative to get your existing customers to buy more on each trip or buy more frequently.
If you expect customers to be loyal, then you must show them how determined and committed you are to your own business to earn their business. It is important to surround yourself with competent, customer-friendly employees that will follow in your footsteps. Keeping a quality staff is imperative to keeping a loyal customer base. Mentor them to do as you say and do as you do.
Keep the exterior of your location up to par, sweep up those cigarette butts, clean the windows and take care of any gas spills. Have a logical store layout and maintain organization, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Customers do not want to waste time hunting for what they need. Make sure the shelves are clean and fully stocked. Half empty shelves and dusty products do not make a very good impression. Greet customers promptly when they enter your store. Learn and use their name. Once you are acquainted, ask them how they are, what is happening with their live and families, etc. Learn what they buy and offer new products and merchandise you feel will appeal to them. Building a genuine relationship with your customers will make it hard for them to shop anywhere else.
Thinking about branding? A brand creates the feeling of familiarity and comfort in the minds of the consumer, leading to a confidence about the quality of your product and location. An alliance with a strong and enduring brand gives you preferred access to exceptional products, services, promotions and advertising. The following are some of the benefits of branding:
- Your business will get a vibrant face-lift, improving its curb appeal.
- By signing a contract under a brand, you will have access to reliable supply and competitive pricing on fuel.
- Branding gives you access to top-of-the-line equipment and cutting edge technology along with built-in customer support.
- Your gasoline will no longer be perceived as “generic”. Like it or not, many consumers trust branded gasoline more than unbranded. They believe branded fuel is of higher quality, passes higher EPA standards, and is worthy of a higher price tag. Some of the bigger brands go a step further in attracting these customers by highlighting the additives included in their proprietary blended gasoline, (for example, BP with Invigorate® and Citgo with TriClean®).
- You will be authorized to offer the brand’s credit card, rewards and gift cards, as well as corporate fleet cards and programs, all of which save you on card processing fees.
- Branded advertising campaigns increase visibility and exposure for your station. Targeted advertising on cable and broadcast TV, radio, internet, billboards and digital ads drive customers to your location.
- Choosing to brand your station can open the door to a variety of philanthropic efforts, volunteer activities and educational support programs. Major brands offer programs and support initiatives to give back to their communities, for example, BP Fueling Communities, The Valero Foundation, The Citgo Fueling Good Program and The Sunoco Foundation. Such programs provide assistance to enable you to take a leadership role in your community.
- Your branded location can be found on most GPS devices and search maps.
Today’s marketplace is constantly flooded with reward programs in an effort to satisfy customers’ increasing demand for instant rebates. Gone are the days where the consumer is excited about mail-in rebates; right now it is all about instant gratification. These reward programs can keep existing customers, build loyalty, and bring new customers. Customers are after gifts, perks, cash back, and especially instant price rollbacks at the pump! With the competition for business as difficult as ever, locations are searching for opportunities to distinguish themselves and grow their customer base. Consumers are beginning to expect rebates and drive out of their way in search of those rewards. The battle lines have been drawn, with each brand or convenience store chain offering their own rewards program. Contact Countywide Petroleum Company and gain the competitive advantage to lure customers to your location.